Thursday, September 8, 2016

Astral Tide : "How Far, Are You Out There?"

I like the balance of power and melancholy that this album cruises the shadows with. The bass tone is monstrous. By the time you get into "Mercy Release" it's clear these guys are not a doom band. The croon of the vocals feels more post-punk to me. They are certainly odd birds as they explode in manner than reminds me of band's from the 90s like the Catherine Wheel. The whole loud to soft dynamic formula is the bread and butter of their sound. There are screamed vocals thrown in and almost progressive rock guitar work that is bathed in enough effects for it to not hit you like Dream Theater. The vocals take a lighter shift on the more angular rocker "Living off Air" that owes more to Dinosaur Jr than Black Sabbath.

They continue to accelerate into "Cold Dark" and while it's showcases some impressive bass playing I don't think this really plays to their strengths as a band.It does go into a slower build to get heavier , but the song would have been better at that pace all along. "Out of Orbit" works within the bounds of the wall of sound these guys make the best use of.  They stomp along similar lines but with their foot press harder to the gas on "Blissful Agony". It took me a few listens for this one to sink in with me as it felt like a lot was being thrown at me at once.

While in places the vocals might use a little fine tuning and the band could learn to use restraint here and there and allow you to get hypnotized by their more sonic side, this album was a pleasant surprise. These guys have a lot going for them. Hard to pin into any one genre, they bring 90's alternative to a harder place and stare into the trapping of shoe gaze with out getting distracted from the songs at hand. I'll give this album a 8.5. It is certainly worth your time.

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